In 20 Years, How Will We Turn Out?
How will we turn out? That was the question for our formative years as we searched for what type of person we would we grow into.
By Midlife we have arrived. From the music we love to the men we lie with, our tastes, preferences, truths and values are all firmly entrenched by midlife.
But some of us don’t like who arrives on the steps of Midlife.
Much of our appearance has changed. Our face, our figures, our hipness, our sassy cheekiness and bravado, have taken a hit. And suddenly we are faced with a big
Do we get “done”?
When my mother hit Midlife, she was on the same playing field as all the other women on her block and in her social circle.
They all approached aging on the same level, some looking a bit better than others, but strictly from their DNA.
There was no fillers or Botox or chemical peels, no surgery to get rid of lines and frowns, no hand jobs, or vaginal tucks.
My Mom, and all her friends, just grew old gracefully and no one thought anything differently about her as she went through her sixties and seventies, un “done”, natural, with only a good cold cream from England as her nightly beauty ritual.
Hers was the last generation to be permitted to age gracefully, enter Midlife naturally. 14 years ago, when Botox was approved for treating lines and furrows, the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry declared war on aging.
Our culture embraced the notion, so completely, that simply living with what God gave you is now considered quite old fashioned thinking. Society decided looking old was no longer normal, and most of us bought into the notion that we should never ever look our real age again. Even the women who are only in their 20’s and 30’s are going under the knife, paying for extreme makeovers as “preventative medicine.”
“If we are not young or at least if we don’t look young, at all costs, we do not matter. As we buy into this perfection culture, we contribute to the pervasive sickness that is wanting to be what you are not” -Oprah
Our Midlife is filled with apprehension as we stare into the mirror, fearing we are
crossing the line, into old age, a place where society deems there is little value.
Even spry Octogenarian women who tend to their herb garden, make their own vegan meals and do daily yoga, are only recognized as amazing, because they are still depicting youthfulness. This youth obsession is a really big problem for us.
Other ages revered their elders, sought their wisdom, and listened to their stories. They were allowed to age with grace and dignity earning like badges of bravery their lines and wrinkles. Not us.
For the most part we are told 50 is now 40, and 40 is now 30, in some way making middle age an elastic time frame, depending on your vanity, and your disposable income, can stretch or snap.
Unlike other cultures, we do not as a society have a solid philosophy on our stages of life.
Life use to have a beginning, a middle and an end. That middle part was the longest, and was the most interesting, where we learned what mattered. Now as women buy into the anti-aging propaganda and get re-done we are literally erasing this period of our lives.
Not only does this cripple our journey, as we lollygag back in time, but people will forget how ordinary women our age, should look.
When you hold an heirloom tomato in your hand, freshly picked from your garden, slowly ripened by the late summer sun, it is deliciously imperfect in its appearance. Often misshapen, under or over-sized, with cracked seams and blemished skin. Mother Nature does not grow things perfectly, including us.
The beauty of age, the richness of character, the importance of imperfection, and
the reality of impermanence.
When we grasp the idea that imperfection, holds its own beauty, we can cease
the torture of trying to attain the impossible goal of perfection. Welcome to Wabi Sabi.
A Japanese pool that Westerners long to dive into.
Wabi Sabi celebrates everything we lack in todays world.
The philosophy is simple.
Nothing is perfect. Nothing lasts. And Nothing is finished.
Yet what is normal or natural is the antithesis of our North American consumer
driven youth obsessed culture.
We willingly pay to be injected, frozen, peeled and plumped as if a tighter, shinier
version of us will make us more acceptable.
Wabi Sabi says your appearance is only enhanced by embracing the old and
worn parts that have served you so well, and appreciating them for the deep resonate beauty they evoke. You are nothing but imperfectly perfect, just like that tomato.
We all could do with a good Wabi Sabi wash.
Perhaps we can only start to live more fully when there is less focus on our looks and more focus on our lives. How we feel, opposed to how we look.
Here is a secret. Vanity only comes out to play when the sun is shining. No one ever worried about their looks when they are sliding down the tunnel of an MRI machine, or lining up for a bed at a homeless shelter. No one at sea, tossing for weeks, in the nauseating under belly of a ships hull, waiting for freedom, ever gave a 2nd thought about their appearances.
As our privileged world, gets ever more so, we have so few other distracts that require immediate focus for survival, we have become narcissists at the pond’s edge, so preoccupied with our fading beauty, we are about to fall in. Our blessed and comfortable existence has rendered us idle, like bored debutants in a mid-century novel. Our world is so comfortable, we have nothing more pressing for our attention, or our finances, than to strain in the reflection, for any arrival of a new wrinkle, and immediately begin to erase it, at any cost.
I like to think of our physical presence, this way.
To maintain the species, we needed our looks and charm, to get this far, to mate and procreate. But now, they have outgrown their function,
like the training wheels on your first two-wheeler, that got removed the day you could peddle all by yourself.
We are up and peddling now, thank you very much.
Lets bring Authentic women back in vogue.
Lets give ourselves permission to be imperfectly perfect.
Not frozen in place, but real moving parts, with value in that which we know, and
that which shines through the lines and wrinkles, the age spots and greying hair.
Our age shows through our humor, our wit, our conversations, our philosophy. Our age seeps into everything that is us, including our faces and our bodies.
Midlife is now about wearing your soul on the outside, so everyone can see it, and admire it. Your beauty, will be its reflection, timeless and ethereal.
“This is your permission slip to not have to wear one of those “done” faces” Crystal
PLAYTIME: Magic Mirror
As a four , five and six-year-old, one of my favourite television shows was Romper Room. I remember Miss Roma reciting behind her magic mirror: romper bomper, stomper, boo, tell me tell me tell me do, magic mirror, tell me today, did my friends have fun and play?
Then, magically, the back of the mirror disappeared and she was looking straight at me, through an empty mirror frame. Every day, she would say several names: I see Jimmy and Sissy and Clara , and I see Kathy and Debbie and Joey and Sue, I see Kevin and Laurie and Kyle and Melody, and I see you too.
I would spend the whole time she was saying other people’s name speaking to the television, begging her to say my name. She never said it. Crystal was not a popular name until a Dynasty character had that name and many little girls then received “my” name.
Recently, Leigh told me that she appeared on Romper Room as a child. While I was happy for her, I was reminded of that rhyme, and my daily prayer to Miss Roma to see me, and of that feeling of not being seen.
In midlife, I now know that my visibility begins with me. Louise Hay recommends mirror work, affirmations said to yourself in a mirror, to heal your life. My ah-ha moment is that mirror work can bring together my childhood wish and midlife desire to be seen.
To make daily mirror work fun, I made my own “magic mirror ” and every day I see me.
I picked up three free magazines after my Sunday yoga class, and a hand held mirror from the dollar store. Then, I traced the back of the mirror onto the cover of one of the magazines and cut that out. On the cover, I pasted pictures and words that I found in those three magazines that represent the things I affirm. Then, I pasted them onto the cut out of back of the mirror, knowing that I could replace it when the pictures and words I affirm evolve. This first incarnation says: positivity, creative, play today and wellness. It also includes photos of the roots of a huge old-growth tree, a beautiful Japanese woman, artful faces, birds, and a cartoon winking woman. I challenge you to make your own magic mirror in a similar, carefree fashion.
When I look at myself in the magic mirror and make my daily affirmations , I smile . I find it changes the energy of the statements.
You will know what to say to yourself. Here’s some things I say to myself in my magic mirror, while smiling and in the present tense:
I choose myself
I believe in myself
I take care of myself because I deserve it I am: Whole
Leigh, the Romper Room alumni, wanted me to add that she says: thanks for
giving my crayons back.
Make your magic mirror. I hope it brings the magic of positive self-talk into your
daily life. Say your name, for you and for my little girl, so we know that you hear your name in a magic way every day.